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Posts tagged ‘text’

  1. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – III

    Continuing from my last post in this series I will now turn to a brief examination of verse 7 of Anandalahari – which together with verse 8, provides a preliminary dhyana – a meditation/ritual image of the goddess. Continue reading »

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  2. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – II

    For this post, I’m going to begin a brief examination of some of the themes present in verses 1-41 of Saundaryalahari – often referred to as Anandalahari – “wave of joy”. As I noted in the first post in this series, the Anandalahari is perhaps the most explicitly “tantric” half of Saundaryalahari providing cues for the dhyana (puja image) of the Goddess, Her mantra, yantra and her relationship to organising schemas of Cakras and Rays. For the present, I will concentrate on the first six verses of Anandalahari. Continue reading »

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  3. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – I

    Tantra is often (popularly) represented in western occult writing as though it were an “outsider” tradition in India, something on the periphery or marginal to the orthodox or “mainstream” forms of Indian religosity – and highly esoteric – something which can only be “decoded” with the correct keys or “initiated” understandings. This view, which I’ve recently argued (Treadwells lecture, October 2011) actually says more about western occultism’s self-representations than any tantric actualities, is something I’ve been trying to counter with much of the tantric-oriented writing I’ve been doing here on Enfolding. Although I’ve made occasional reference to the Saundaryalahari (“Flood of Beauty”) here a couple of times previously (see this post in particular), for this series of posts I’m going to examine this work in more detail, drawing in some of the themes I’ve been outlining in other posts. Continue reading »

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  4. Mandala bodies: a torrent of terminologies

    To continue my examination of representations of mandalas, I will now turn to the problem of terminology – and how restrictive definitions of terms (a problem highlighted in this post) can limit one’s understanding of mandalas. In order to do this, one has to abandon the phenomenological representation of mandalas of which Jung’s presentation is an example (and as I hope to discuss at a later date, many occult/new age discourses are rooted in) which privileges individual “inner experience” over traditional/textual/cultural particulars and turn instead to matters of historical texts and their scholarly interpretation. Continue reading »

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  5. Approaching texts

    Sometimes, when I look at tantric texts, I’m reminded of Joss Whedon’s description of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a “fairy story” rather than a “driving manual”. If you look at the majority of magical “how-to” books written these days, they are often presented as “manuals” – “here’s an explanation of this concept” – followed by “here’s how you do it” possibly followed by some discussion of the author’s own experience. Some authors will assume a shared language, whilst others will take great pain to explain what they mean by a particular term or concept. There is a general assumption though, that the reader may be unfamiliar with what the author is writing about and so good authors take that into account and explain stuff, to varying degrees. So there’s a degree of expectancy amongst occult practitioners that written material will, on the most part, be accessible, and, to varying degrees, familiar. Continue reading »

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